Monday, April 5, 2010

Casa Don Puglisi: Vanilla

Somebody named Don Guiseppe Puglisi has a "confectionary laboratory" in Modica, Sicily, and in this laboratory he cold-presses nasty chocolate bars and wraps them in wax paper, natural cardstock, and twine. My uncle gave me this chocolate bar, and I thought it would be delicious because the packaging is so elegant. But I've learned never to judge a chocolate bar by its cover, because what lurked beneath was a brittle, grainy mess.

Casa Don Puglisi: Vanilla
Cocoa content: 45%
Notable ingredients: n/a
Origin: n/a

In the spirit of Passover, I'll start the discussion this way: Why is this bar different from all other bars? I knew the bar had a unique texture as soon as I opened it: Don Puglisi calls it a "unique, opaque patina," and it kind of looks like little grains of chocolate are all pressed together, with nooks and crannies abound. The method Puglisi uses is called "cold pressing" -- it means that the cocoa paste is pressed with sugar granules without being heated up because apparently heating ruins the flavor of the chocolate. It's apparently an Aztec tradition, but Taza Chocolate (based in Somerville, MA) is also made in the Aztec tradition and their products are usually great -- with some notable exceptions.

Now, I should be clear about one thing. Brittle, in and of itself, is not necessarily a problem. I covet brittle dogs, and peanut brittle. The thing I didn't like about this chocolate was the graininess of it -- each bite was a crumbling mess of chocolate and sugar granules. They didn't melt, but rather loosed themselves from the bite and spread out and, in the process, made it difficult to determine a coherent flavor. Without any sort of creaminess to the texture, the acidity of the chocolate is unpleasant and all the little particles are uncomfortable.

All that said, this is one kind of chocolate that is made in a particular way. It's not supposed to taste like other chocolate, but that doesn't make up for the fact that it tastes and feels bad. I've known many treats, all with their own virtues, and this bar wasn't working for me. C-.


  1. I'm sad this bard didn't work out. Mainly because I really like how its wrapped. Sicilians mess up--once again.